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I Made The Christmas Cookies of My Mom’s Childhood for The First Time, and It Won’t Be The Last

Mary Shannon Wells
I Made The Christmas Cookies of My Mom’s Childhood for The First Time, and It Won’t Be The Last

When the call came out for a Christmas cookie swap at work, I was a little overwhelmed. I’ve baked before, of course, but I don’t consider myself a baker. The most recent batch of cookies I made were GIANT because I don’t own a cookie scoop and clearly don’t have a solid grasp on portion sizes. (Note: My friends were understandably not upset about the obnoxious size of the cookies, and yes, they still tasted fine.) But there was one tiny detail that made me nervous for the office cookie swap. I had never attended one in my life.

Even from behind my computer, I can hear the gasps of Southern grandmothers everywhere. It’s not that I don’t love cookies, or Christmas, for good measure. Because my friends have always enjoyed Dirty Santa, or White Elephant, Parties during the season, I simply had never been to a holiday cookie swap. So what did I do? Turned to Mom, of course.

I asked my mom if she had any favorite Christmas cookie recipes. Santa often got slice n’ bakes at my house, so I couldn’t think of a festive, homemade Christmas cookie recipe that would be meaningful to bring to the swap. My mom immediately knew which recipe to give me—Cathedral Cookies.

Since she grew up going to Catholic school with an Italian Catholic mother, the recipe name did not shock me. But I was confused why I’d never heard of these cookies if they were her Christmas tradition as a child. Luckily, I have something new to blame on my big brother.

Just kidding, but really: She said we didn’t make them when I was little because they have nuts in them. Since my brother is deathly allergic to nuts, that makes quite a lot of sense.

It actually worked out better that I hadn’t made her Cathedral Cookies before, because I experienced something new that connected me to my mom’s life. And let me tell you: Even a novice “baker” like me couldn’t mess these things up. In fact, I think they’re an ideal easy Christmas cookie recipe for kids.

You may have heard of these cookies by the name “Stained Glass Cookies,” and that’s because they mimic the colorful windows you often see in churches and, obviously, Catholic cathedrals. These no-bake cookies only take four ingredients, so they’re perfect for the kids to make while they’re out of school for the holidays.

All you need is chocolate pieces, butter, chopped walnuts or pecans (sorry big bro), and colorful mini marshmallows. Although you’ll have to melt the chocolate and butter on the stovetop, the kids can mix everything together and form the cookie “dough” rolls. This no-bake recipe doesn’t require much hands-on time or work, but it will need a few hours to chill in the fridge for the “dough” to set. When it’s ready, cutting into the rolls reveals the bright marshmallows, or “stained glass” pieces.

Even though my adorable Cathedral Cookies were put in a lineup of gorgeous treats made by Southern Living editors and experienced bakers, they were a hit. Sure, they weren’t beautiful enough for a magazine cover, but they had just the right amount of nostalgic charm. Several editors said they couldn’t wait to make these easy cookies with their kids this holiday season. Get the recipe here.

WATCH: How to Make No-Bake Fudgy Toffee Bars

Looking for another no-bake holiday treat to make with the kids? Try our No-Bake Fudgy Toffee Bars. They (and Santa!) will love the layers of graham crackers, chocolate, caramel, and candy bars.